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Top stories this week…

Apr 14, 2001

Tisco on a roll…
Tata Steel has plans to repay debts to the tune of Rs 6 billion (US$ 127 million) over the next four years. Besides, it is also repaying Rs 5 billion (US$ 106 million) worth of deep discount bonds in the current year itself. The company might also consider buy-back of shares. It has plans to fund these plans via a mix of internal accruals and debenture issue. (April 7) The regime changes…
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended a 12 percent yearly revenue share for the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) as annual fees. Of this, 10 percent is towards license fee and the balance 2 percent for spectrum charges. Currently, the VSAT operators have to pay a license fee of Rs 55,000 per annum (US$ 1,170) per VSAT terminal. The recommendation has come as a relief to these operators. (April 8)

FIIs: Opportunistic…
The Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) were net buyers in equities and debt at US$ 90 million and US$ 22 million respectively during the first three trading weeks of April 2001. The total investment by FIIs in the first three months of 2001 has surpassed the cumulative investment they made last year. (April 9)

Growth stagnates…
The Indian passenger car industry has had a miserable 2001. The B segment of the car industry, which grew by 140 percent last year, grew by just 0.1 percent in the current year. As per the industry estimates, around 279,627 cars were sold in the B segment last fiscal against 279,237 cars in the current year. Overall, the passenger car industry saw a drop in sales of around 7 percent. (April 9)

Looking for a synergy…
Voltas, the diversified Tata Group Company, has decided to merge Voltas International, its overseas operations arm, with itself. The international arm had built up significant technical expertise in major international turnkey projects. The merger with the wholly owned arm will lift the Voltas turnover by Rs 1.4 billion (US$ 30 million) and its net worth by Rs 200 million (US$ 4 million). (April 10)

Cadila outplays MNCs…
Zydus Cadila, the sixth largest pharmaceutical firm in India, has acquired a 27.7 percent stake from Astra Media AG and Heller in German Remedies Limited at Rs 650 (US$ 14) per share. The acquisition was routed through the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Recon Healthcare. Later, Recon will also make an open offer for another 20 percent stake, which could take the consideration to Rs 2.5 billion (US$ 53 million). This makes it the largest deal in the pharma sector in India. (April 11)

VSNL at stake…
Six domestic groups, which include the Tatas, Reliance, Birlas, Bharti, Sterling and Videocon, have submitted their letter of intention (LoI) for picking up a 25 percent stake in the state owned telecom behemoth, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL). However, some of the overseas players like Deutsche Telekom, Concert and Telecom Italia. The government has plans to complete VSNL’s disinvestment by the current fiscal. (April 11)

The ‘biggie’ warns…
Infosys has reported a topline and profits growth for the fourth quarter of the year ended March 2001. The company's revenues and profits for the quarter increased by 5 percent and 9 percent to Rs 5,618 million (US$ 120 million) and Rs 1,817 million (US$ 39 million) respectively. Infosys has improved its operating margins by over 60 basis points to 41 percent in the fourth quarter. Compared to previous year, the company's margins are up by 16 basis points, which was primarily on account of increase in offshore revenues. (April 11)

Hughes: Impressive…
Hughes Software, after a brilliant performance in the third quarter of the current year registering a sequential growth of 26 percent, has recorded a sober 10 percent growth in revenues to Rs 620 million (US$ 13 million) and 20 percent in net profits to Rs 221 million (US$ 5 million) in the fourth quarter. On a Year on Year basis, Hughes has clocked a rise of 84 percent in net profits. The highlight of the performance is that the company has managed to improve operating margins by about 600 basis points. (April 12)

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